Tag Archives: contemporary printmaking

Poppy (Return)

 

2017 Poppy Transitory series, works in progress – Ren Adams

This body of work isn’t done with me.

I thought I was done with it, but like poppies, it keeps resurfacing. Blooming again, dying back. A little different. Tenacious.

In early 2017, I began working on another set of about 50 smaller works for the series, completing one wave in March. They refused to be framed, so I mounted them on wood. It gave them a certain decisive “objecthood,” but I am wary of getting too product-like.

There’s also a lineup of 11″ x 14s:

Some of the finished, mounted works installed:

Series Artist Statement – Poppy Transitory

Poppy Transitory investigates the sincere absurdity of processing loss with decorative memorials, themselves transitory tokens of grief. Based in a fiercely personal, yet oddly abstract pain, the series considers the story-infused space of mourning—colorful, obsessive layers behave like memory extracts.

Conflating the mysterious Mojave Desert deaths of my sister Cindy Adams (1972) and musician Gram Parsons (1973), I ask what it means to “know” someone through location-tied story; to “understand” events via embellished clues, just as I “knew” both individuals through family narrative. What does it mean to assuage loss through well-meaning transference? Do gifts for the dead resolve our perplexity?

To engage this, I use transparent layers to suggest recalled memory, story cycles, and the deluge of tokens posthumously offered to Cindy and Gram. I deconstruct and reframe the language of the Mojave Desert, the visual vocabulary of memorial shrines, and personal iconography from Cindy and Gram’s clothing, whirling them into a sensitive system of overlaid shapes. The desert they loved represents and consumes them.

Aware of its own artificiality, the work earnestly embraces our candy-colored attempts to mediate the space of grief with flowers, cards, and condolences—the physical trappings of a cultural process of mourning, often our only recourse in grappling with the unexplained. Poppy Transitoryis itself a fragile, momentary monument to the passage of imprints, the trace of Cindy and Gram, and to our moment, an undeniable passage of its own.

​(2016-17)

Finished works are part of this exhibition:

Inspiration 101 – Works by New Mexico Art Educators

Most artists will name their art teachers as one of their greatest influences along with famous artists in history. The knowledge, encouragement and criticism of their teachers will stay with an artist for the rest of their career. Gallery with a Cause wants to celebrate these hardworking men and women who dedicate their lives to inspire and instruct the next generation of artists. This museum quality exhibition – curated by Regina Held- features paintings, watercolor, pastel, printmaking and mixed media by New Mexico art educators from elementary to college level.  The Cancer Center Foundation raises funds to alleviate non-medical needs for cancer patients. 40 % of each art sale goes to the Foundation and is tax-deductable.

​Exhibition dates: March 12 – June 2, 2017.
Reception: Sunday, March 12, 4 -7 pm
Awards ceremony: 6:30 pm during the reception for the following awards: People’s Choice, Curator’s Choice, Patient’s Choice and Staff Choice.
Cost of event: Free and open to the public


Gallery hours:
 Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm by appointment only, please contact Alexandria Tavarez, alexandriat@nmohc.com, or call 505-857-8460. Admission is free during regular gallery hours.

Where:
New Mexico Cancer Center
Gallery with a Cause
4901 Lang Ave NE, Albuquerque NM 87109.

Pressient – Cotemporary Abstract Printmaking Exhibition

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Selected works from my Poppy Transitory series are featured in Pressient – Contemporary Abstract Printmaking, an August exhibition at The Weyrich Gallery. Curated by Trish Meyer, the show offers a selection of contemporary printmakers and their works on paper.

Fore more information on the exhibition, and to download the exhibition catalog, please visit my portfolio.

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Poles & Planets (Jupiter and the ’67 Chevy)

"Vasquez Canyon Road (in this distance)," 2015. Serigraph and monotype. 9 x 12".

“Vasquez Canyon Road (in this distance),” 2015. Serigraph and monotype. 9 x 12″.

As a first grader, riding in Dad’s ’67 Chevy shortbed pickup in the center of the bench seat (between them, no seatbelt) I was fascinated by the repetitive, rhythmic movement of telephone poles. We were driving through the Mojave Desert, going on a back road from Lancaster to Rosamond (then on to Tehachapi), where there are endless lines of ruddy, creosote telephone poles with tension wires at various levels of slack. The poles whipped past, punctuating the sky, defining our speed. It was mesmerizing (it always fascinated me, but on this one particular day, I got this overwhelming sense of them being planted in the Earth). It was like I pulled a camera back and realized these poles were here, stuck in the ground, on the surface of a planet. And here we were, rushing along the highway, in a wide open space, on the surface of a planet. And the planet was spinning, and it was out in space, surrounded by other spinning planets. These man-made objects, we as humans, the truck, the beer can in the paper bag (watch for cops!)—it was all planted, moving on a surface, moving and infinitesimal. Of course, I didn’t know the word “infinitesimal” then, but I did have a love affair with Jupiter, whose colors still infect my artwork.

"La Brea (effervescent)," 2015. Serigraphy and monotype. 9 x 12".

“La Brea (effervescent),” 2015. Serigraphy and monotype. 9 x 12″.

Desert (Loss) and Google

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Pearblossom Highway near Four Points, East Highway 138 – Palmdale, CA

I have a solo exhibition in November and I am fusing aspects of my most recent body of work, The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert, with excerpts from Last Days (poetry), to suit the space.

Rather than install the Cascade paintings, digital images or videos straightaway, I’ve remixed my own ‘episodes’ to produce an offshoot series, incorporating new research and experiences.

The November installation is entitled Desert (Loss). 

I’ve been mining my stills, videos and paintings for images and symbols that can be remixed into a visual discussion (or even dissection) of the eroded, fleeting memory and its tie to the tenuous nature of ‘depthiness,’ truth(iness) and media. Such that the creative speculation we use when recalling television–or when violently, even romantically, pursuing or attempting to possess fleeting memory, becomes all-consuming.

This pursuit, this grab for thin, fading and re-combining elements becomes the basis of our understanding of self and place;  the backdrop of gain and loss.

There are similarities between the recollection of events (real or fictional) and the abstract construction of place, moment and self built in our brains, to house our weird collection of experiences, our filtered understanding of things. It’s rather like the memory palace of Simonides, with a twist of media theory and personal loss. In this case, the desert backdrop of Adams.

Many of the elements sifted from my televisual desert have been stripped own and abbreviated. This is a graphic mode of erosion, such that only certain highlights remain, not unlike the white-hot pinpoints we latch onto when recalling an encounter, real or fictional, remembered or repressed:

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Martin Milner, who becomes an abstract sheath of black to the right, died Sept. 7. Each image is a monument to eventual loss, and apparently so is the digitally remixed and fabricated: Roland Barthes + The Flaming Lips

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Joshua trees

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Carson, CA

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14 Freeway

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Something’s been lost, or maybe he’s got dust in his eyes

Of course, these extracts, are black and white because they will become transparencies for exposing serigraphy screens.

This allows me to duplicate and further erode each moment, using a variety of ink transparencies and tones, letting some fill in and others become partially obliterated by additional layers and text. So, they won’t be straight black and white and they won’t be single-layer.

In addition to mining my existing episode base, I am also gathering new Google Street Views, stripping, twisting and mutating them, or matching them to television sources. They become part of the remix of reality and fantasy–each carefully chosen vignette speaking on multiple levels (I’ll address some of these in a future blog post). I’m also researching other artists (like Doug Rickard) that use Google, both perceptually and conceptually.

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Yes, this is along the length of Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway; 138. Or, maybe it’s my highway 138. LOL. This is past Littlerock, CA, looking East.

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Los Angeles County Cascades (on the right, see the tank and aqueduct?) plus the definitive overpass leading to Palmdale, Lancaster. Not far from the freeway interchange that fell during the 1995 Sylmar quake.

I’ll share progress shots and images of the finished series in the future. I am still working on audio, new videos and more paintings for the Cascade, but the paintings and videos won’t be part of Desert (Loss) as there is not enough space in the gallery and I adapted the show to suit the location. Audio could play a role, however.

Also, expect a better / deeper explanation of Desert (Loss) and the ideas behind it in coming weeks.

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